March 24, 2023

The Grenada Gulag extract : Langston Sibblies unfit to be Grenada DPP

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By Peter Polack

In January 1981 the leader of the Marxist-Leninist Workers Party of Jamaica (WPJ) wrote to the Prime Minister of the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada (PRG) about the possible appointment of Langston Sibblies to a post within the equally Marxist-Leninist PRG. That missive was part of a cache of five tons of documents seized during the invasion of Grenada by the USA and several Caribbean states. Langston Sibblies was the most senior of the WPJ lawyers seeking to join the Grenada Revolution in 1981 but was considered unfit for a senior post due to inexperience.

Workers Party of Jamaica

29 January 1981

Cde Maurice Bishop

Prime Minister

People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada, 

Grenada, W.I.

Dear [handwritten Maurice]

2. Legal: 

Langston Sibblies. The most senior of the strictly WPJ lawyers, this comrade has been approached and agrees

He does not have enough experience either to be a DPP or an Attorney General, but would be a good back-up person as a Crown Counsel to somebody with knowledge and experience in the higher positions. 

This was RS’ conception with which I agree.

This comrade is very competent, willing to learn, and capable of hard work, needs to work along with Senior Counsel.

Grenada Documents Microfiche DSI-83-C-012493, Record Group [RG] 373.2, National Archives II, College Park, MD [NACP],  Trevor Munroe to Maurice Bishop, 29 January 1981.

Langston Sibblies was called to the Jamaican bar in 1975 with the first cohort of lawyers trained at the University of the West Indies whom the Gleaner described as “met with great expectations.”

Five years later in April 1981, Langston Sibblies was part of a four-man team called the Detainee Task Force or Committee on Detainees that oversaw the unlawful incarceration of 202 political opponents of the Marxist-Leninist regime in various locations under the most brutal conditions where even water was in short supply.

Unbelievably, one month later and four months after the WPJ memorandum confirming his inexperience, Langston Sibblies was appointed Director of Public Prosecutions of the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada. Langston Sibblies had been a lawyer for just over five years.

Trevor Munroe refused to comment on the WPJ memorandum when contacted directly and indirectly in 2014.

Langston Sibblies various published resumes are cloudy for the period 1975-1981 and 1983-1990. 

A letter to the Daily Gleaner in October 1975 confirmed Sibblies employment with the Kingston Legal Aid Clinic which had been sponsored by the U.S Government agency, the Inter-American Foundation to the tune of $167,000.

He fled Grenada before the US led invasion in October 1983 and by 1984, he was practicing as a private lawyer at 42 Duke Street in Kingston when he assisted in the defence of WPJ project officer and member Howard McDonald, charged with a million-dollar bank robbery of the Bank of Nova Scotia in Highgate, St. Mary. 

Ironically at that time Langston Sibblies was also the spokesperson for a so-called Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Grenada whereby the group promoted better treatment of detainees including those arrested for the murder of Maurice Bishop, and subsequent conviction, after the invasion.

This was confirmed by a February 1984 letter from Sibblies to the Swiss based International Commission of Jurists when he sent a report on detainee conditions by the Jamaican group post not pre-invasion.

After the invasion only two members of the Grenada PRG Detainee Task Force or Committee on Detainees were ever brought to justice.

Victor Husbands was charged in 1984 with three others including a former Commissioner of Prisons, an ex officio position on the Detainee Task Force, for the torture of several political prisoners by Bishop’s government during its 1979-83 rule in Grenada.

Another member of the Detainee Task Force, Guyanese lawyer Miles Fitzpatrick died in 2019. Obituaries do not mention his 1981 sojourn in Grenada or his involvement in the unjust detention of hundreds of Grenada citizens, many now dead like former Attorney-General and detainee, Lloyd Noel.

There has never been a full inquiry into the treatment of detainees by the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada or award of compensation to so many abused by the few.

Langston Sibblies was never charged or extradited in regard to his oversight of the Grenada detainees.

Langston Sibblies left the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority in 2019 having been appointed Queen’s Counsel. He was appointed to the Cayman Islands Judicial and Legal Services Commission, a body which appoints judges, in 2017. In 2021 he was appointed to the Financial Services Commission of Jamaica.


  1. First UWI-trained lawyers admitted, The Daily Gleaner, 7 October 1975
  2. Inquiry into St. Mary $1-m bank robbery postponed until March 15, The Daily Gleaner, 28 February 1984.
  3. Langston Sibblies, letters to the editor, The Daily Gleaner,14 November 1975
  4. Caribbean News Briefs, UPI Archives, 5 October 1984

Peter Polack was a former criminal lawyer in the Cayman Islands for several decades. He is the author of The Last Hot Battle of the Cold War: South Africa vs. Cuba in the Angolan Civil War (2013), Jamaica, The Land of Film (2017) and Guerrilla Warfare: Kings of Revolution (2018). He was a contributor to Encyclopedia of Warfare (2013) and worked as a part-time reporter for Reuters News Agency in the Cayman Islands 2014-19 but now lives in Canada. His work has been published in Small Wars Journal, Defence Procurement International, American Intelligence Journal, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center magazine, Military Times, Foreign Policy News, EU Today, Radio Free Europe, VOA Portuguese, South Africa Times, History Cooperative, INews Cayman, Jamaica Gleaner, Miami Herald, Reuters, Toronto Star and The New York Times. His latest book entitled Soviet Spies Worldwide: Country by Country, 1940–1988 will be published by McFarland. He is presently researching his next book The Grenada Gulag.

DISCLAMER: The opinion, belief and viewpoint expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinion, belief and viewpoint of iNews Cayman/ or official policies of iNews Cayman/

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